CHAPTER 1 PENNY
The human mind. The endless thoughts and feelings a person has is something that I won’t be able to comprehend. It baffles me, interests me, but most of all confuses me. And that is why I am majoring in something that I do understand; fashion at USC (University of Southern California). The colors, patterns, mediums, textures and graphics all come easy to me and give me a way to express those endless thoughts and feelings I have without…actually having to express it. It takes up my time and energy so I don’t have time to worry about my problems. Yes, I know it’s not healthy, but I’ve been doing it all my life and it works. Why would I change now? Fashion is therapy. I tried actual therapy, but it didn’t work for me. The lady was nice, I just don't think I was comfortable enough to share just yet, so I stopped going. Maybe–no, I probably would have opened up more and felt more comfortable if I kept going, but I didn’t. Should I start going again? Probably. Will I? Most likely not.
Now, I’m sitting here at my work station, headphones on, listening to Matilda by Harry Styles, letting my hands design this denim jacket inspired by the mind of a young girl. One side is colorful, pink, sparkly, princess-y. Expressing the wonders of being a young girl: being dressed in pink glittery dresses and pretending you’re a princess. The love you feel from your family. Playing tea parties with your friends. When every day was a fairytale filled with magic. Every day is filled with happiness and love because you didn’t understand that the world is cruel and mean. Meanwhile, the other side is a darker shade of denim, a painted half mirror, and clouds. This side is a description of the whole other half of growing up as a teenage girl: the comparison, the insecurity, and the confusion about who you are. The days of finding out how cruel the world is and realizing you can’t play princess every day. The jacket is supposed to show the innocence of children before being exposed, everything brighter and colorful. The other side is when innocence is taken and the world becomes dark and scary. I’m really enjoying this project, I hope people enjoy looking at it as much as I did creating it.
In full honesty, I have no idea how long I’ve been here, but it’s my last class of the day, so I’ll be fine. I feel I’m forgetting something, who knows it’ll come to me eventually. I’m so close to being finished , so I’ll just stay here and finalize this for another hou–
“Penny! Penny!?” a voice screamed coming out of my headphones and cutting off my thoughts. I turned and took my headphones off as I saw my best friend, Daisy Lynn, staring dumbfounded at me.
“Oh hey, what’s up, Daisy?” I said simply while grabbing my phone to pause the music, and taking off my headphones.
“Don’t ‘Oh hey’ me! I’ve been calling for 20 minutes before coming down to campus to find you! I thought you were taken or in a ditch somewhere?!” She said with concern and relief filling her features as well as catching her breath. Her face looks like she ran a marathon.
“Oh really? Sorry I silence my phone messages while working. Also, why and how would I be taken? You gave me a whole self-protection kit for my birthday so I, and I quote, ’aren’t as helpless as a fish,” I say this while rolling my eyes and half-laughing.
“Hey, you don’t know what can happen, and I don’t want to see ’MISSING: Penny Marshall, 20-year-old fashion major at USC’ on TV, Ok?!” Daisy said this while both of us were laughing, but then her cellphone interrupted us.
After checking her phone, it seemed to remind her of something, ”Oh ok, now for why I came here: are you coming with me and Danny– well now his friend too– to dinner tonight?”
“Oh, um, what time? I kind of have to go get changed and shower. Also, are you ok? You look like you sprinted here.” I ask while starting to put my tools and materials away.
“Yeah, of course, we will be leaving in about two and a half hours. Is that enough time? And yes I ran here! I didn’t know where you were and this was the last place I was going to check before calling the police!” she answers and I laugh as we both walk through the design room to the exit. The design room has been my second home for the past two years of my life. Even when the students aren’t able to be in here, I am. At first, I snuck in, but then I was caught and just given access by the professor. She knew that I did great work and that I came here because I had nothing else better to do. That might sound rude to a lot of people, but it’s true. I don’t have an interesting life unless Daisy forces me to go out.
“Yeah also, who is Danny’s friend? Is this another one of you trying to find me a boyfriend?” I asked her. Why does Daisy try so hard to find me a boyfriend? I’m fine by myself. I don’t need a man. I don’t need to rush love; I need to find the right person at my own time that fits all my boxes.
“No, it wasn’t what I was trying to do. Jacob isn’t your type, and he doesn’t date. He’s cute, but he acts like there’s a stick up his butt most of the time…” She answers me while going on about this Jacob guy, while I kind of zone out, thinking about what she just said.
I thought knowing that this wasn’t one of her tries to get me a boyfriend was supposed to make me feel relieved, but it kind of makes me more interested in this guy. Jacob sounds like a basic boy name; a jock. Probably a sports major, if he even goes to USC or college at all. Daisy also said he was cute, not hot, so he can’t be that attractive. Why am I so interested in this guy? It’s frustrating me.
These thoughts stay in my mind while Daisy and I drive back to our apartment. I need to get this guy off my mind, but I really want to meet him. Penny, chill out!
When we both get into our apartment, I head to my bathroom to take a shower and get changed while Daisy heads to Danny’s. They’re picking me up in two hours. I get in the shower after I hear the door closed and locked. I turn the shower to a warm temperature, I’m not a person who needs it either super hot or cold to take a shower. I just need a temperature that won’t leave me shivering when I get out or leave my skin hurting. In the shower I sing along to my playlist pretending I’m a pop star at a concert; because who doesn’t do that? Also, if I just were to sit there in the shower knowing I'm alone in the apartment I be anxious thinking there is someone in my home. Every noise would freak me out; I’m not kidding I have a bat next to the toilet plunger just in case.
After taking my shower and getting ready, pretty casually at that. I’m wearing a green flowery slip dress with a cute black vintage Rolling Stones t-shirt tied on top of it. I go back to the bathroom to do my hair and makeup. I have a very simple everyday routine, I have pretty nice skin just to use a little concealer, and ill be fine. I’d then add a little highlighter to the parts of my skin I want to be highlighted, and finish it off by applying some mascara. I let my hair air dry and it gives a very nice beach curl, so I leave it. When I’m done with that I go to the full-length mirror in the middle of my room and look at myself to check if I’m presentable. Then afterward I look at myself and tell myself the opposite of what I’m thinking of myself.
Your legs look gross, put on pants. My legs are beautiful. You need more makeup over your pimples. I love my natural face, I am beautiful. Change, you need a new style. My style expresses me and my outfit is beautiful. When I went to therapy that was the one thing that helped and I took from the sessions. Now it’s just an everyday thing to make sure I keep loving myself. It doesn’t always work. I’m still very insecure in my own skin, but sometimes it gives me a boost of confidence. So I just do it every time I go out or if I think I need a little pick me up.
Now, I’m sitting on the couch waiting for Daisy to call saying she’s here. I’m getting a little antsy, not just physically, but mentally, too! My mind can’t get off of this Jacob guy, and I haven’t even met him! Why? I have no clue! The fact that I don’t even know his last name and he’s making me feel this way is a little concerning. Guys haven’t made me feel like this since high school and that was when I met them, this guy I haven’t even met! This is going to be a long night.